Alpaca Facts

Alpaca Facts
Alpacas are a domesticated species of camelids from South America that have been bred for thousands of years. There are no wild alpacas and only two breeds, including the Huacaya alpaca and the Suri alpaca. Alpacas have very valuable fiber which is high in both quality and quantity, and were bred for this feature. They are also bred for their meat. Alpacas are descendants of vicuñas, although they were originally believed to be descendants of llamas. Alpaca fiber is often used to make blankets, sweaters, ponchos, and other textiles, with over 52 natural colors originating from the alpacas in Peru alone. Alpacas are not a large animal, reaching only 185 pounds on average by adulthood.
Interesting Alpaca Facts:
Alpacas are considered to be intelligent animals.
Alpacas are relatively clean. They prefer to use dung piles when going to the washroom, and because of this habit some alpacas have been successfully housetrained. Alpaca poop does not smell very much and is considered to be excellent for soil enrichment.
Alpacas are found in a variety of different colors including fawn, grey, brown, black, white, and many combinations of these.
Alpacas are native to Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, high in the Andes mountains of South America.
Because alpacas are smaller than many other animals raised for meat, it only takes an acre of productive pasture to sustain as many as eight animals.
Alpacas are known to be friendly with people, including children. They are also sociable with family dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, as well as sheep and goats.
Alpacas can live as long as 25 years and are able to survive in most climates.
Alpacas are known to spit when overexcited. They rarely spit at humans however. When they do spit it may contain saliva and a bit of hair, or it may contain stomach bile. They usually only spit at other alpacas. If they spit a lot they develop 'sour mouth' which results in a gaping and drooping lower lip from the acid in the stomach bile.
An alpaca that is in danger will make a shrieking, high-pitch, whining sound.
An alpaca that wishes to exhibit friendly behavior will make a clucking or clicking noise. A content alpaca may hum.
When male alpacas are fighting they make a bird-like cry which is meant to scare the other alpacas.
Alpacas do not each as much food as most other animals their size. On average an alpaca consumes two pounds of hay each day, with about a cup of supplemental food.
Alpacas are usually three feet at shoulder height when full grown. They reach four to seven feet in length.
Alpacas are herbivores with a three-chambered stomach. Their diet includes mostly grass, but they are also known to eat wood, bark, leaves and stems.
Alpaca females are pregnant for 242-345 days. Baby alpacas can weigh up to 20 pounds at birth. Baby alpacas are called crias.
If an alpaca and a llama are crossbred, the offspring are referred to as huarizo.
Alpaca fiber is considered the second strongest natural animal fiber. The first is mohair.

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